People all over the world want economic growth, believing it will make them better off, and who can blame them? But how much bigger can we grow before our global systems begin to come apart at the seams? Continue reading
Tag Archives: global warming
An excellent article recently appeared at Spiegel Online International titled “The Warming World: Is Capitalism Destroying Our Planet?” and I highly recommend reading it through to the end. In it the authors give in-depth information on the current status of the global climate, relating it back to human activity and national and international politics. (Millions of tons of CO2 going into the atmosphere every day has to have an impact, sooner or later.) The politics of various key nations and the negotiations at past climate conferences are described, and a lot of the latest climate science is brought forth. The topic is a bit frightening but of such critical importance to us that, really, every adult should have to read this article (whether they believe it or not).
Then, better informed, we need to take action, vote for politicians who are deserving, and “clean up our acts” by making many changes in our selves, our decisions, and our lifestyles in order to preserve a reasonably habitable world for our kids. The trouble is … it might already be too late.
Thanks for reading — Tim
Awareness of humanity’s biggest problems is rising. While there appears to finally be a slow groundswell of popular understanding and alarm about what humans are doing to the planet (which is quite late but very good), there is still a lot of mishandling (and often misrepresentation) of the news. This results in persistent widespread misconceptions about our position and probable future on the planet. So what kinds of things are we “not getting”? Continue reading
Food systems are going to be of primary importance as population peaks. If, as the UN says, population will reach more than 9 billion in the 2040’s before beginning a steep decline, the causes of that decline are important to consider today. A historical review of population reductions shows that neither war nor the natural disasters we’ve seen so far make a noticeable difference, but suggests that famine and possibly disease have the potential to make major reductions in the population. Decades ago I expected that we might pollute our world so badly that average lifespans would fall, but there has been some progress on preserving the environment and it appears that energy and food shortages created by overpopulation are bigger concerns. (Of course, the primary concern SHOULD be overpopulation itself, as these other problems are results of it.) If organic food and farming methods are more costly than agribusiness’ methods now, why would they replace the hugely productive methods used to produce most food in the developed world today? Continue reading
Are we smarter than lemmings? It’s time for humanity to prove how smart we are. We are faced with the biggest crisis we, and perhaps any species on the planet, has ever faced: our own overpopulation. But are we going to continue to grow our numbers until the massive and complicated systems by which we sustain ourselves collapse, essentially “marching off a cliff” as lemmings were once said to do? Or are we smart enough to curb our population growth and find a way to a sustainable world situation? Continue reading
Falling birthrates a problem? Someone has lost their sense of perspective. NY Times op-ed columnist David Brooks’ recent piece “The Fertility Implosion” cites falling birth rates in many countries and discusses the difficulties faced by societies in which elderly will significantly outnumber young people. Certainly there will be challenges. While in the US the Social Security program (SS) is expected to continue another 25 years, with relatively small changes needed to change that time to “indefinite”, and most developed countries have better systems for caring for the elderly than the US does, there is still much concern for how the young people are going to foot the bill for those older than them. But how does this stack up against the effects of the current population explosion itself? Continue reading
Common sense may not be common, but this video seems pretty full of it. Hans Rosling at Gapminder.org gives an excellent TED talk about the progress humanity has made and where we may go in the future, illustrated by the washing machine. As professor Rosling points out, the promotion of early childhood education represented by the washing machine is a significant factor in education and, I believe, in humanity’s success.
After watching this video my only question is: can we really conserve enough energy and switch enough of our supply over to renewable sources to stave off a huge energy-based component to the population explosion problem? We in the US haven’t experienced a real war in which critical commodities were rationed and we (including businesses) all sacrificed since 1945 but it appears it is time for that again now.
As always, I welcome your comments — Tim